First Drive: The all new Land Rover Discovery (Td6)

Mike Humble

For over a quarter of a century, Land Rovers Discovery has been a by-word for off road ability and prestige. Very few rival brands have close to emulating the success of this all British product that’s been with us since 1989.

Previous Discovery versions have been based upon skilful evolutions of modernity as time passed by. This all new model is different, very different, its revolutionary in almost every possible way, and yet still astonishingly capable…

disco peanut

What a clever thing the Discovery has been. Born in `89 to plug the gulf sized gap between the traditional Defender and the opulent Range Rover. Thanks to purposeful yet distinctive styling blended with incredible off-road prowess, the Discovery from day one has been nothing short of a world wide success story. I could be biased here but I have personally owned not one, but two Land Rovers – one of them being a Discovery. Even though some years have passed since it was part exchanged, I still wear a metaphorical black armband for the model we reluctantly parted with.

So… the new Discovery? Well after a very packed out and informative day poking, proding, cruising and criticizing the all new Discovery, it seems apparent that Jaguar Land Rover are enjoying what can best be described as an automotive Midas touch. Its an incredible piece of engineering thanks to its bonded and welded alloy construction. Make no mistake, the ultra lightweight construction which has resulted in a ULW reduction of 480Kg – almost half a tonne seems to make no difference to overall rigidity and solidity of the car.

For sure its recognisable Land Rover DNA when viewed in the flesh – one or two folk remarked it looks like a larger Discovery Sport, but when inspected in the metal its a little bit more than that. Some mourn the passing of the outgoing model – I for one, but this all new version sits alongside the family seamlessly, isn’t a brash or brutalist while promising to get more potential buyers into the brand who may have been put off by the aforementioned styling. From every angle its most certainly a premium product but cleverly restrained as not to encroach on the personal space of the Range Rover.

 

disco int
On the inside… the Discovery has moved upmarket with class and style. Driving and control positions are excellent as is motorway refinement.

 

The interior feels well designed and the quality seems better than ever. I drove the 3.0 TD6 rated at 258bhp & 600Nm respectively and can report that refinement is very good indeed. Highway and motorway driving is serene and fuss free, also the handling is notably sharper and responsive – its never going to be a go-kart but its pretty good nonetheless. As for ride comfort – ever so slightly firm at low speed but once out of the urban hubbub and on the open road… superb and well damped. Its got a nice upright driving position, fine ergonomics, an excellent drivers seat and superb forward visibility.

The only issue I noted at speed was wind noise coming from the large door mirrors – in true Winnie the Pooh tradition it was a blustery day so don’t expect this to be a major problem all the time… its not. Press on harder up to motorway speed and the ride comfort evolves into genuine saloon car standards and the performance from the 3.0 diesel has power and refinement along with commendable economy. Rear passengers benefit from more space and as is not the case in some cars of this type, rear noise levels are pleasingly low.

But for those who like to get mucky the new Discovery has lost none of its off road capability. After a work out at Land Rovers Eastnor Castle based experience centre I was deeply impressed with the ability and articulation of the chassis and wheels. Not once did it fail to proceed despite being shod on standard tyre equipment. Its multi mode terrain response and all-terrain progress control (ATPC) are much more than snappy brochure type. They both ensure your off road adventures are safe and well within safety margins.

 

disco peanut rear
Chassis and wheel articulation is impressive. Only the wheelbase and tyre equipment seems to hinder your progress. Body rigidity is incredible such is the engineering quality of the alloy construction – it really is top notch cutting edge stuff.

 

Its clever enough to allow the driver to tackle the most arduous of gradients up or down or any challenging terrain at low speed by just using the buttons on the steering wheel. No need to even touch the brakes – disarming and odd at first but once acclimatised leaves you almost in disbelief – its that good trust me. Other benefits include on board Wi-Fi, improved infotainment, an incredible amount of storage space and tow assist which uses the parking camera to advise and help reversing manoeuvres when towing. All in all its a very sorted, engineered and capable car.

A full test is coming soon but for now be safe in the knowledge that the new Discovery has not gone a bit soft. A bit lighter, efficient and more luxurious maybe… but not soft!

Initial likes: Impressive engineering – Off road ability – Interior presentation – Lower emissions and better fuel economy – Charm – Greatly improved quality – Superb cruising refinement.

Initial Doubts: New sleek styling open to opinion – Gets expensive when option boxes are ticked – Some interior fittings lack the required prestige car feel

Driveline Options:

  • 2.0 Ingenium twin turbo diesel with 240Ps / 500Nm
  • 3.0 Td6 258Ps / 600Nm
  • 3.0 Si6 supercharged petrol with 340Ps / 450Nm
  • All driving through an computer controlled ZF 8 speed automatic gearbox

Other Key Attributes:

  • Up to four 12v sockets and nine USB charging points
  • New smart phone app technology
  • Alloy construction
  • 65% more interior stowage space
  • 2406 litres of total cargo space
  • Co2 output as low as 171g/ Km
  • 50% of the sheet alloy content is recycled material

Pricing starts from £43,495 “S” to £65,695 “HSE Luxury”

For more information CLICK HERE


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